New plan to target weeds and pests in Moira Shire

By Morgan Dyer

Moira Shire Council will continue to target weeds and pests across the municipality for the next seven years.

At last month’s ordinary council meeting a new Roadside Weed and Pest Control Management Plan was endorsed.

Under the Catchment and Land Protection Act 1994, the council has responsibility for the management of regionally prohibited and regionally controlled weeds and established pest animals located on council-managed rural roadsides.

The council's community general manager Sally Rice said the Roadside Weed and Pest Control Management Plan 2020-2027 was developed to enable the council to meet its legal obligations and support the local agricultural industry and the environment.

“The management of certain weeds and pests is prioritised based on their classification, and some of the key ones in Moira Shire include serrated tussock, African boxthorn, Bathurst burr, horehound, khaki weed, caltrop, Paterson’s curse, prairie ground cherry, silverleaf nightshade and St John’s wort, and of course, rabbits,” she said.

The new plan draws on the council's previous Roadside Weed and Pest Animal Control Strategy.

The previous strategy was deemed highly successful as 75 per cent of the shire received at least one round of treatment; it reduced African boxthorn, blackberry, horehound, sweet briar and Bathurst burr, and saw the percentage of roads treated in a one-year time period increase from 17 per cent in 2016-17 to 36 per cent in 2018-19.

The 2020-27 plan will work in two phases with the first stage heavily targeting current weed biomass while phase two will be an annual maintenance program to monitor and treat weeds on 100 per cent of roadsides for the remainder of the plan.

Ms Rice said the Roadside Weed and Pest Control Management Plan 2020-2027 would build on the council's achievements to date.

“To date its implementation has been highly successful, but as people would be aware, it is important to continue to actively monitor and manage weeds to prevent their survival and spread,” Ms Rice said.

“Weeds such as African boxthorn, sweet briar and Bathurst burr have reduced significantly, in the range of 50 to 80 per cent.

“However, other weeds have emerged during this period including khaki weed.

“Khaki weed is a summer weed which is readily spread by vehicles traveling along our roadsides, and this will be one of the weeds targeted over the next seven years.”

The council is seeking financial support from the state and federal governments for the plan and has sent letters to local and state members of parliament.